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Don’t fail our children

YESTERDAY, AUGUST 20, 2020, the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, commissioned a 10-member committee to deliberate and advice government on modalities for the re-opening of schools in the pre-tertiary subsector.

Dr Opoku Prempeh told the committee members at the commissioning ceremony to collaborate effectively with all stakeholders ahead of government’s re-open schools since it was closed down in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The deliberation and advice on the modalities for the re-opening of schools in the pre-tertiary subsector will be subject to the approval of the President.

The Minister said the committee in its deliberations, must ensure that all stakeholders are brought on board in drawing up its recommendations for transmission to the President. He went ahead to thank them for accepting this important national assignment.

Prof. Dominic Fobih, a former Minister of Education and currently the Chairman of the GETFund Board of Trustees, who is the chairman of the committee, in his response, thanked the Minister for entrusting them with this responsibility and assured him that the committee would be diligent in all its deliberations and learn lessons from the recent limited reopening for final year students.

They are expected to report to the Minister on Monday 21, September 2020 on its recommendations; exactly a month from today.

Prof. Dominic Fobih’s committee comprises representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, UNICEF, private schools sector and parents.

The DAILY HERITAGE welcomes the commissioning of the committee and the assignment given but we would want to put on notice that the mere mention of government committees in this country raises many questions and it is our hope that the members are aware of the negative perceptions that the people have about government committees.

The paper hopes that this time around, this committee, with the caliber of persons serving on it, will do a fantastic job that will produce sound advice and directions for the safe re-opening of schools.

And if they are taking sitting allowances, we pray that state funds would not be wasted but rather their output will give us value for money, especially this time that the Covid-19 pandemic is putting pressure on the country’s meagre financial resources.

The recent public reactions to the partial re-opening for final year students pointed to the poor consultations that were done. We all witnessed how certain unions came out to express their worried sentiments about not being consulted.

We hope that, this time around tough lessons have been learnt and the committee will not fail our children and the country in general.

The DAILY HERITAGE is of the considered view that, though it is good to have a committee with experienced heads like Prof Fobih, the members must put their political colours behind them and do the work diligently for the betterment of this country.

Posterity will judge them should they fail to come out with realistic measures that will help government to take decisions that will be safe and productive for running our schools in the face of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The challenges that came to the fore when the final year students were directed to go back to school are enough to serve as useful yardstick for the committee, and so they cannot afford to fail.

The task ahead of them is one that is very sensitive and they must therefore put their rich experiences to excellent use and, together, come out with feasible recommendations.

They should also consider all the inputs from the various stakeholders that they will consult and eschew political expediency.

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